The 18 Best Uses For Fine Mesh Strainers

In our modern world, you'll find a never-ending supply of cooking gadgets made for just about every minuscule cooking task. Whether you are drawn to unique cooking tools or your mother-in-law loves gifting you with ingenious tuna presses and hard-boiled egg slicers, at some point, you'll have to choose what stays and what goes.

When your kitchen cabinets begin to crowd, you'll find yourself comparing items and mulling over what to purge. If you find yourself holding a large colander and a fine mesh strainer, you may wonder if you actually need both. While that colander is great for draining pasta and straining stock, you'll find an excellent use for that little wire strainer, too, so don't toss it.

A fine-mesh strainer, which is a bowl-shaped kitchen tool designed with wired fine-woven netting, can do a lot. It's best known for sifting powdered ingredients and straining certain foods. As modest as that apparatus may seem, you'll find several benefits in the kitchen, and we have a bunch of examples to prove it.

Strain and drain various foods

Let's start with the most basic ways to use a fine mesh strainer — straining. Considering its holey construction, that little tool does wonders for separating solids from liquids.

If you work with many canned ingredients, a fine mesh strainer will be your best friend in the kitchen. You can drain cans of beans, lentils, vegetables, and even fruit with its help. If a recipe specifies that you should rinse your canned ingredient, simply place the filled strainer under cold running water, and voila.

It's also a fantastic tool for anyone who loves canned fish and seafood. For example, before adding tuna to a recipe or mixing it with mayonnaise for a sandwich, you'll want to press all those juices out of the fish. After dumping your can of tuna into the strainer, use a fork to press all the liquid out.

Sift powdered ingredients

Your cakes, bread, and cookies could all use a quick fluff boost; believe it or not, sifting your powdered ingredients, like flour and cocoa powder, makes a tremendous difference in the results. The process will help remove any clumps and incorporate other powdered ingredients.

It's essential that all powdered ingredients are well combined before folding them into your wet ingredients to ensure everything is mixed thoroughly. While the cooking task sounds fussy and a little extra, it's worth the additional few minutes.

Even ingredients like 10X powdered sugar, which comes in an incredibly fine consistency, should get a quick sift before whipping up a batch of royal icing. There's nothing worst than spending time making beautiful icing that clumps up and blocks your piping bag while decorating pastries.

Rinse snack-sized amounts of produce

With all the convenience you can get from shopping in the inner aisles of the supermarket, it's far too easy to forget about the wholesomeness grown from the earth. Fresh produce like carrots, zucchini, cucumber, and tomatoes are lovely veggies that do the body good. Beyond vegetables, you've got fresh berries, citrus fruits, and apples.

The thing about all those delicious fruits and veggies is that giving them a good wash before eating them is essential. The fact is that not all grocery store produce is washed before it reaches the shelves. Some are covered with pesticides, while others are sprayed with a protective wax coating.

To keep your body safe while reaping all the benefits of eating those healthy foods, always wash your fruits, even if it is labeled as already having been washed. Simply place your pre-sliced fruits and vegetables in a small fine mesh sieve and rinse with cold running water while gently rubbing them with your hands.

Poach eggs with this foolproof method

If you are a fan of poaching eggs, then we have a hack that will lend to those pretties little poached pillows. If you are a big fan of this cooking method, you might already know that foolproof poached eggs require a splash of vinegar to help keep the whites intact.

But besides adding a little acid to your hot water, there is another trick that will help avoid foamy or wispy eggs, and you probably already guessed what tool we recommend for the job. That's right; a fine-mesh strainer is a tried-and-true tool used to help separate the thin egg whites from the thicker whites.

You'll reach the best results with a fine mesh strainer if you use fresh eggs, too. There are lots of big mistakes everyone makes when poaching eggs, so make sure, at the very least, you follow these simple tips.

Dust pretty pastries and desserts

As an amateur home chef with an admiration for all things sweet, you begin to pick up on little tricks that take your pastries from mediocre to excellent. Dusting desserts is one of those simple tricks.

Whether you have hand-crafted a lovely French apple tart or an old-fashioned Bunt cake, it will always gain a few attraction points with a fine dusting of powdered sugar. Linzer tarts, molten lava cakes, and cream puffs are all pastries that look lovely with a finalized touch of powdered sugar sifted over the top too.

You can even work with complementing contrasts of colors by adding darker powdered ingredients (like cocoa powder) to whipped cream toppings. It's exactly that kind of flare that gives classic tiramisu its iconic appearance. All you need to do is add your powder in a fine mesh strainer, then tap the side over the dessert until you reach the desired amount.

Squeeze lemons and catch seeds

Many of us reach for the salt and pepper shakers when we want to add a little extra flavor to our meals, but there are so many other ingredients that help enhance what you are eating. Fresh lemon juice is probably one of the loveliest fresh ingredients that can turn a meal from bland to bright in a matter of seconds. The only problem is all those pesky lemon seeds that love to shoot out and make a frustrating mess of things.

Next time a recipe calls for fresh lemon juice, or you decide to squeeze one of those sour citrus fruits over your broiled seafood dinner, be sure to grab your fine mesh strainer. It will help catch the lemon seeds so you won't have to dig any out of your dish.

Make a fruit coulis

A fruit coulis (pronounced KOO-Lee) is a lovely dessert sauce made by puréeing fresh fruit and then straining it to remove any impurities or seeds. A classic fruit coulis recipe usually calls for granulated sugar and sometimes water or citrus juice for consistency.

After cooking the fruit with sugar and water, it's puréed and then strained using a fine mesh strainer. Using the back of a spoon, you can work to scrape along the inside of the strainer to help push the coulis through without worrying about bits of seeds.

Coulis are lovely over fresh pound cakes throughout the summer but also help bring brightness to decadent cakes like flourless chocolate tortes. Next time you're looking for a fancy way to finish your dessert, a fruit coulis might just be your answer.

Make ultra-creamy mashed potatoes

Everyone has their own mad method of making the perfect batch of mashed potatoes. Some like adding whatever cheeses they have in their fridge at the time to give them an ultra-rich and cheesy flare. Others boil their potatoes in chicken broth to help bring on some immense flavor.

While you can do many things to help with flavor, you can also change a lot to get the consistency right, depending on how you like your mash. Some like big hunks of potatoes mixed in, while others insist on only the purest mashed potatoes without a lump in sight.

If you like your mashed potatoes lump-free, we recommend you turn to this unconventional way to make them ultra-creamy every time. Grab your fine-mesh strainer and push your mashed tubers through. The end results will boast incredible fluff and smoothness in every bite.

Make homemade cheese

The fine-mesh strainer is a great tool to use if you plan on making homemade cheese like scratch ricotta. Making cheese can be as simple as heating milk, then adding an acidic ingredient and watching it curdle. That curdled milk is cheese before it is strained, which tastes fantastic in baked casseroles like stuffed shells and lasagna.

A crucial part of the cheese-making process involves straining your curdled milk to fully separate the liquid from the cheese solids. This is typically done using cheesecloth, but the fine-mesh strainer can get the job done just as quickly. There are lots of other cheeses you can make besides ricotta, but they all require proper draining to help remove the curds from the whey and to ensure fermentation takes place.

Make an ultra-smooth lemon curd

Oh, lemon curd — how incredibly refreshing and rich that tangy little dessert topping can be. The versatile ingredient might be a challenge to perfect, but when done right, it can transform a simple tartlet or pie filling into a lip-smacking pastry everyone will adore.

An easy way to make lemon curd is with the help of the microwave. By combining sugar, eggs, lemon juice, and butter, you'll work your hot box in short intervals, whisking in between until you reach a thickened consistency.

Every now and then, you might notice your eggs begin to curdle, which is a total no-go. Unless you want scrambled eggs in your lemon curd, we suggest you work those little lumps through a fine mesh strainer until you reach ultra-smooth results.

Achieve a silky smooth vegetable purée

Vegetable purée doesn't seem to come around in recipes as often these days, but there are many benefits to making them. Purées create lovely sandwich spreads and can add oomph to soups and pasta sauces. Depending on your selected vegetables, purees can even be used as a binding agent.

If you are a parent, you already know the nutritional benefits of making your little one small batches of fruit and vegetable purées as you introduce new ingredients early on.

Some vegetables yield somewhat stringy results, like celery, and don't blend as well as other ingredients. Other ingredients like snap peas and green beans have outer shells that won't break down as well, either, especially if you have a weak blender. So if you plan on making a purée, your best bet is to finish it off by pushing it through the fine mesh of a strainer before serving. That way, you will reach an ultra-smooth texture that provides a silky mouthfeel.

Steam veggies in a saucepan

Nothing quite beats the flame-kissed flavor of grilled asparagus, portabella mushrooms, and zucchini throughout the months of summer. In winter, you can get similar top-notch results by roasting your hearty tubers and other vegetables in the oven.

You can also boil certain vegetables depending on the results you're looking for, but steaming tends to be a superior cooking method in several recipes. The trick to reaching perfectly steamed vegetables is timing and ensuring that they are cut into uniform pieces.

If you don't own a steamer pot, you can use a fine mesh strainer to get the job done. Select a saucepan that your strainer fits in nicely, but make sure it doesn't fall to the bottom. Make sure there is about one inch of water in the bottom of the saucepan while your vegetables sit inside the strainer basket. Once you turn your heat up, cover the basket with a lid and watch as the steam cooks all those veggies.

Drain small batches of pasta and noodles

Throwing a full 16-ounce box of cooked pasta in a small fine mesh strainer won't work like a colander will, considering its size, but the little strainer is great for small batches of cooked pasta. Next time you make a cup of ramen noodles but don't want all the broth, grab the fine mesh strainer. It'll help separate your noodles from the liquid without dirtying up a giant colander.

That handy little sieve is also great for certain tiny pasta types. For example, if you have a colander with relatively large holes, you'll notice granular pasta shapes like stelline (which is tiny star-shaped pasta) will fall through or get stuck in the holes. We've even run into this issue with orzo before. The minuscule holes will come in clutch for these smaller pasta cuts.

Make a smooth gravy

There is really nothing like a scratch gravy made from chicken or turkey drippings and homemade broth. Your fine mesh strainer will come in clutch double time here. Next time you make a small batch of bone broth or stock, use your strainer to separate the liquid from the bones and aromatics. Your small sieve is excellent for smaller batches of broth, as you won't have many large bits and pieces to catch.

After making a roux with butter and flour, you'll work your crystal-clear broth into the roux until you reach just the right consistency. It's essential to stir without stopping when whisking the broth into your gravy to avoid lumps. Suppose you do accidentally make lumps; no worries. All you have to do is run your sauce through the strainer, which will catch all those little impurities.

Catch bacon bits while collecting grease

In case you haven't heard us tell you yet, you should stop throwing out your bacon grease. That precious liquid fat will lend well in the kitchen for several culinary purposes. You'll get the tastiest home fries and fried eggs from leftover bacon grease, and it will give your cooked veggies and rice an out-of-this-world flavor that you won't get from regular old butter or oil. Even when you run out of butter, you can slap a bit of that flavor-filled fat over a toast or warm biscuit.

Every time you make a batch of bacon, remember to collect the grease between frying batches. You can do so by running it over a fine-mesh strainer to catch all those little briny bacon bits and put it into a mug or mason jar. Store it in your fridge and use it over time.

Concoct a cocktail

If you have decided to amp up your mixology skills, you are probably starting to learn about all the tools used behind the bar. From working with unique ingredients to constantly testing out new flavors, textures, and aesthetics, there is a lot that goes into building unique cocktails.

One method you'll see used in several cocktails is straining. Bar strainers come in various shapes and appearances, but they all serve the same function; to keep ice and other bits of ingredients from entering the finished product.

So if you are shaking a martini but need to serve it straight up (without ice), then you'll surely need to strain it before adding it to a martini glass. There is no need to buy anything fancy at first; just practice with your little fine mesh strainer, then move on to better quality bar tools like the Hawthorne strainer.

Make a batch of hot tea

Most of us reach for the box of tea bags when it's time for a hot cup. This is great for small individual-sized servings, but every now and then, it's nice to make a big batch to enjoy throughout the next few days. Whether you would like to steep a small cup of loose-leaf tea or you have a bigger batch to make, you can get excellent results with the help of a fine mesh strainer.

All you have to do is heat water in a saucepan, add your loose-leaf tea to the hot water, and steep for a few minutes. At this point, you can add additional flavoring ingredients like sugar or honey, or sliced lemons. Once you have reached your desired strength, pour the tea over the fine mesh strainer and into a pitcher to cool.

Try your hand at making Greek yogurt

There is something to be said about a big bowl of chilled Greek yogurt. Beyond snacking on parfaits, you can do so much with Greek yogurt. The plain version tastes so similar to sour cream that you can substitute it on Taco Tuesday to help keep things healthy. A dollop (or two) will add a depth of flavor to your mashed potatoes, and you can't get an authentic tzatziki sauce without the stuff.

There are several differences between Greek yogurt and regular yogurt, but the main one is that Greek yogurt is strained more than regular. This transforms it into a thick and ridiculously rich yogurt that some just cannot get enough of.

The protein-rich yogurt is a healthy choice as it offers several nutrients and vitamins (via Healthline). So next time you're looking for a wholesome way to start your day and don't have a tub of that good stuff, use your strainer to make a batch yourself.